Our six-year-old has been struggling with fear lately, like most kids do. He doesn't like going into dark rooms at night, and I understand because neither do I. I am still a little afraid of the dark. When my husband's deployed, I like to sleep with a hall light on.
When we moved back into this condo in our last move, there was no overhead light in Jimmy's room, so I bought a hanging lantern with a light kit at Pier One and hung it in his room, plugged to the socket that the switch by the door controls.
My husband is not so understanding of Jimmy's fears. I don't think he's ever really been afraid of anything, and I suppose that is partly why he's so well suited to being a Navy pilot. But he doesn't like to indulge our kids' fears, and while I agree it's good to help them get over them, I don't believe in the "throw them in the deep end" method.
Last night, Jimmy was told to go upstairs and get pj's on and brush his teeth. He did a squirmy little dance, whining that he was afraid. His dad rolled his eyes, but I pulled him over to sit next to me and asked him to tell me what he was afraid of upstairs.
He didn't want to tell me. I told him I'm afraid of the dark sometimes, even though there's nothing to be afraid of, so I understand. "Why won't you tell me?" I asked.
"Because I'm afraid you'll laugh."
"I promise I won't laugh. You can trust me."
He hesitated. Finally, he quietly said, "Aliens."
I had to press my lips together really hard. And then bite down on them a little. I felt my husband quietly chuckling next to me.
We all ended up going upstairs together to get the kids ready for bed. It's tough keeping a promise sometimes.